They say that a realtor should bake a batch of cookies when selling a house because the scent of freshly baked cookies reminds potential buyers of a home. And as silly as it sounds, it’s true. A scent has the power to recall memories long forgotten. We may not always remember the details of our grandmother’s face, but we can still smell the gardenia perfume she used. The smell of our father’s aftershave brings about feelings of warmth, safety, and giant bear hugs. And the musky scent of Oud permeating the air still reminds us of the first day we set foot in Dubai and looked out across the city that was to become our home.
The sense of smell may be overshadowed by its more famous siblings sight, sound, and sometimes even taste, but our sense of smell is one of the most immediate and powerful emotional triggers a human has – good or bad. After all, nobody wants their home to smell like last night’s curry takeout, and anyone wearing the same cologne your ex-boyfriend wore probably won’t get a second date.
We all want our homes to smell warm, inviting, clean, cozy – not just for our guests, but for ourselves as well. And choosing the right scent for your home need not be willy-nilly or whatever candle was on sale at the mall yesterday. It should be thought out and mapped according to your preferences, but also the functionality of the room in which it will live.
Of course, the sense of smell is extremely personal and everyone has their preferences and tastes. There are those who are very committed to a single, favorite smell, and only want the same scent in every room, while there are also those who have too many favorite fragrances to decide. We are of the opinion that each room should have a unique scent tailored to that specific location in the home. Nobody wants to enter a kitchen and be reminded of the candle burning in the bathroom, and visa versa.
Each room has a different purpose, utilization, and therefore, a different scent to set the mood from the first moment you walk in. Whether it’s a candle, diffuser, incense, or spray, here are a few guidelines we like to go by to choose the right fragrances for your home – fragrances that suit your decor, your tastes, and the mood you hope to create in a single sniff.
Entryway and Hallway
Starting with your entryway or hallway, this is the first area that you come into after coming home from a long day’s work. It’s also the area that first receives your guests and warmly invites them in. The scent should greet you at the door with a large ‘welcome,’ making you and your guests feel instantly home, relaxed, and comfortable. We recommend woody or earthy scents like Oud, patchouli, or cedarwood to ground you and bring you “home”.
Moving into the living room, this is typically the room where you spend the most of your time and bring your guests to enjoy a visit. Ideally you are looking for something light, fresh, and one that can be universally enjoyed. It is best to stay away from strong, sharp scents, or eccentric scents that might not suit the rest of your family. Sweet or floral-based notes like jasmine, rose, or even a light vanilla are recommended for the living room. Additionally, if you have a large living room, as the scents we propose are more light and airy, consider using a diffuser to ensure that your scent travels to each corner of the room.
Kitchen and Dining Room
The last thing you want while hosting a dinner party is an overpowering smell to clash with or overpower the aroma of the delicious meal you have just prepared. You also don’t want the smell of baked salmon to linger long after the meal has ended. A light spritz of one of a citrusy scent can whet the appetite before a meal, but won’t overshadow the meal itself, and can also cut through cooking smells – like fish or frying onions – leaving the kitchen and/or dining room smelling fresh and clean after a meal. Think lime, lemon, orange, or perhaps even a bergamot to give your kitchen and/or dining room a refresh after each meal.
If there is one room in the house you want or need a scent and cannot afford to skip, it’s the bathroom. We need not go into details about the why, let’s just safely assume we all know. A fruity smell like peach, apricot, fig, or orange will go nicely in a bathroom. It has the double function of masking certain odors while also keeping your bathroom smelling fresh. Consider using a scented candle to add just a touch of that spa experience you are looking for.
Many of us have spent more time in our home offices due to work from home measures put into place near the beginning of the year. Add some spicy notes to the air to increase your productivity and keep your mind focused and sharp on the work at hand. Cardamom, spice, and patchouli are favorites for the office to put you in just the right frame of mind to work.
Last but not least we move into what should be your sanctuary. This is the room where you sleep, find solace, rest, and relax. It is where you are most yourself. Ideal scents for this space are calming. Lighting a candle of lily, lavender, rose, or even sandalwood just before bed will help create an atmosphere of relaxation, rest, and will stimulate deep sleep.